The company is privately held by the McIlhenny family since 1868, which is saying something in this day and time. Family still operates it.
The first building is a mini museum showing how the company has grown throughout the years, including some information about the family.
They have a very nice tour of an example greenhouse. They don't grow all of their peppers any more, but do rely on a network of small farmers that grow for them, but this showed how the plants are started. They use tabasco, habanero, and jalapenos now in their various sauces. Then we got to see the mash warehouse where the peppers are ground into a mash which is aged (for three years) in barrels,
|The barrels have a layer of salt on the top|
Interesting to think how many bottles each of these barrels will fill...hmmm...55 gallons/6 oz bottles = ????
|The mixing vats|
|The bottling, labeling, and packaging warehouse|
We had lunch in their restaurant -- more Cajun food, of course.
All in all, a very nice visit. I have to hand it to this place, they keep it as tidy as can be - even the grass is cut in perfect lines! ha! Of course, John noticed that. I have a deeper appreciation for how much goes into making something as simple as a condiment that we put on our food all the time. It was very interesting.
They have another whole park there for the families - the Jungle Gardens, but we didn't have time for all of that today. We were off to Lake Charles for the night.
|Steamboat Bill's butterfly shrimp meal|
After arriving and resting a bit, we headed over to John's favorite place, Steamboat Bills, for dinner. My VERY LAST Cajun meal for a while - I think I'm about up to here with Cajun food! ha! But John had his bowl of gumbo and was a happy camper.
Tomorrow we're headed home!